When we play we engage the subconscious and react instinctively, our minds and body become seemingly hard wired. We often do things without thinking about them or say things things without thinking about what we are saying, only to find ourselves questioning it afterwards. Our minds are not full of this conscious thought that occurs during post questioning, or when we think about our actions, we simply play.
Playing when we are young is natural, and almost essential, yet when we get older it becomes refreshing and sometimes scary. Our conscious minds become serious and full of control, belittling the act of play as something without purpose or value. How does it help us pay the rent? We should be training instead! How does it help us with our career? and so on. The older we get the more we activate the conscious mind through education, demands of society and the desire to act with the ego to keep us socially safe and of values to others. We become more and more attached to the self image of ourselves, that we project to others, which is generally made up of what we believe others want us to be. We start changing the clothes we wear to meet the projected self image we have made up, and even change our friends, our jobs and our hobbies to keep this self image intact and climbing the social ladder.
During all this time we loose the value of play and connection with our true self. We become obsessed with our self image and become to see this image of ourselves and actually who we are. Meanwhile every minute we spend on this self image we live in the conscious mind and loose connection with the subconscious. We build the ego, a sense of control, and a fear of loosing control as the conscious mind takes controls of our thoughts, our being, and our identity. Before long we are attached to our thoughts as if each thought represents who we are. We spend most of our day on our own heads entertaining the thoughts that fleet in and out. When we train and practise for our performances we order and expect the body to react and perform. We approach our training and performances with this egoic self image we have created, which is full of fear and self doubt, yet we expect our body to perform without nerves or self doubt. When we play well we congratulate the self image for being so good, when we perform badly, we tell ourselves we are rubbish or start blaming external factors.
We all share this pattern to some extent or another, it is part of being human and having an egoic conscious mind. The question that needs asking is, does it help our performances? Although the rational and logic of the conscious brain can help with structurally changes in our training regimes, debating different strategies, or analysing what we could do better, when it comes to the actual performance and we want to be in flow. Learning to use the mind as a tool rather the who we are is critical in obtaining flow more readily. When we learn to value play and prioritise it over our conscious thoughts during training and performances we become very close to being in flow. When we are playing we become attached to being in the moment, we start experiencing life in the here and now, and open up the opportunity for flow. When we play we do not think of the pressures around us, we simply play. When we play we do not focus on our weaknesses and doubts, we just play. When we play we do not demand or expect the body to do anything, the body simply plays willingly. When we play we do not question our motivation or worry about our energy levels, we simply are engulfed in play.
For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.